A moving experience
Property porn. I’m addicted to it. If I knew where to find the stats for how often I look at Rightmove on a daily basis I’m sure it would be obscene. It’s the online equivalent of staring in other people’s windows when their lights are on, or secretly judging a friend’s choice of soft furnishings and furniture arrangements. Or maybe that’s just me, nosy and judgemental.
Usually, it’s quite harmless – I’ll peruse the houses that are out of my reach just to see what could be if I were considerably richer. Then I made the mistake of looking only slightly out of my price range, in a village I’ve had my beady eye on for years, and there it was. My dream house. It needed work but it was perfect. It wasn’t long before I’d booked a viewing (just to have a look, it doesn’t mean anything), and duly fell in love with its generous proportions and wilderness of a garden. By the time I went to bed that night, I’d moved us all in, sorted out the damp patch, decorated and furnished the whole house and was relaxing on the patio with a rum and coke and the dog while the kids happily hung out, the cat hunted rabbits in the fields beyond and my partner cooked up a storm in the enormous new kitchen.
Then reality came crashing in. Of course, it’s not all about me. Even though it’s blatantly obvious that we’ve grown out of the house we’re currently living in, I had some persuading to do. When we moved here 12 years ago it was just the two of us, a toddler, and a small ginger cat. Now there’s the two of us, a great big teenager, a medium-sized tween, a massive dog and a big fluffy tortoiseshell cat. We’ve outgrown the space and it’s time for a change.
My teenager has grown into a remarkably balanced and generally unflappable young man, despite, I’m convinced, his upbringing rather than because of it. But he doesn’t like change much. My partner is also happy to stay put wherever the food, beer and Sky Sports is located. The tweenager is particularly averse to change; having lived in this house his whole life he’s taken on the home-loving demeanour of “Bootstrap Bill”. If you know ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ you’ll know that Bootstrap Bill lived on the Flying Dutchman so long that he grew into the walls of the ship. “Part of the crew, part of the ship”…that’s Tom.
I was convinced that this dream house of mine could also be theirs so I somehow tricked them into coming along to see it (KFC was involved), whereupon the teenager also fell in love with it because of the big attic, where he could see himself and his lolloping mates living with their guitars and consoles and gaming chairs. One down. My partner liked the fact it had a separate living room, where he could set up his telly and consoles and also have space for a beer fridge and his dad’s chair. Two down. The tween raced around it like we already owned it. Yes, I thought, they’re coming onside. We’ll have our house on the market by Monday and be in here by Christmas.
So we put our house on the market. And I’ve spent the last few weeks constantly cleaning, tidying, yelling at everyone to pick that sock up, shove that pile of dirty clothes under the bed, and generally make the house look as if no one lives in it, all for viewers, also fans of property porn, to come along, moan about how steep the stairs are, then say no.
Meanwhile, the teenager is now nagging me every day about when we’re moving and has promised the spare room to his friends. The boy who I initially thought would resist this change with all his might is the one now keenest to move. He has a big year of change coming up, with GCSEs and the transition to sixth form college on the horizon so this move should be a positive part of that cycle, as long as we time it right. Now my main problem is Bootstrap Bill, who has now changed his mind and has melded back in the good ship current house. It’s going to take more than a KFC to convince him now.